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Wisconsin in Play?; Romney Takes Offensive on Medicare; Police Shoot Striking Workers; Wildfires Torch Western U.S.; Fatal Confrontation

Aired August 16, 2012 - 22:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: It's 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.

And we begin tonight with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan taking the offensive on Medicare, and "Keeping Them Honest," how they got on the same page on the issue. Democrats accuse them of performing verbal backflips and rewriting history to do it. You can decide for yourself if that's the case.

Here's the line of attack they have settled on.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president's plan cuts Medicare -- excuse me. Well, let's see. There we go -- by $716 billion. Cut. In addition, the trustees of Medicare estimate that approximately four million people will lose their coverage under Medicare Advantage.


O'BRIEN: That's Mitt Romney today in South Carolina. Paul Ryan said the same thing last night in Ohio.

Surrogates have been repeating that for several days now. "Keeping Them Honest," though, as we and many reporters, fact-checking organizations have been pointing out, Paul Ryan's House Republican budget actually adopted that same $716 billion in savings, and Mitt Romney endorsed it.

I asked a key Romney surrogate about that endorsement just the other day.


O'BRIEN: But isn't the Ryan plan the Romney plan?



O'BRIEN: Let me read just you a quote. Hang on.


SUNUNU: But it isn't. You guys keep wanting to say it and I'm telling you it's not.


O'BRIEN: That's been Mr. Romney's line as well, downplaying his prior endorsement of the Ryan budget plan.

But last night on Wisconsin local television, he seemed to try to do two things at once, both back away from the Ryan plan, while also suggesting there's nothing to back away from. Take a look.


QUESTION: Your senior campaign adviser said Sunday if the Ryan budget would have come to your desk, you would have signed it. In a January debate, you called it a proposal that was absolutely right on. I guess why now are you distancing yourself at least from the Medicare portion of the Ryan budget?

ROMNEY: Actually, Paul Ryan and my plan for Medicare I think is the same. If not identical, it's probably close to identical.


O'BRIEN: A short time later, Mr. Romney then went even further.


ROMNEY: We speak with exactly the same policy today. He and I have exactly the same policy. The place that there's a big difference is between myself and Paul Ryan and the president. The president has a very different plan.


O'BRIEN: So notice that he said today they have exactly the same policy, which is precisely what you would expect between running mates. But that's after nearly a week of the candidate underscoring the difference between his Medicare policy and Congressman Ryan's Medicare policy.

That followed months of the candidate endorsing Congressman Ryan's policies, including those Medicare cuts.

So joining us now, GOP strategist and former Romney campaign consultant Alex Castellanos is with us. Nice to see you, Alex. And also, the Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen with us as well. Hilary, nice to see you.

Alex, we're going to start with you, if we can.

You heard about the discrepancy I was just pointing out between what Mitt Romney said last night, what John Sununu told me just the other day. Why is it that the campaign has seemed to be I think the word that's fair is unprepared to answer specifics about how they differ in their policies? Does that surprise you?


I think, you know, a lot of times it's I guess our job in the news media to find conflict where not that much exists. Romney's running for president, not Paul Ryan. Romney's the one who's putting something on the table that he is proposing as policy for the voters now.

It doesn't have the $716 billion in cuts that either was in the Ryan budget and that the president of the United States, by the way, actually implemented. So that's what I think is under consideration. You know the way Congress works, Soledad. You put something on the table and you start the race at the starting line, not the finish line.

When you put something up in Congress, it's the beginning of a negotiation. It's the beginning of the process. So to hold someone accountable for saying, hey, that's a good place to start, of course. You're not going to throw all your cards on the table at the beginning.


O'BRIEN: No, but I would think in terms of just a message, to have contradictions over a week in your message and having a spokesperson who cannot articulate a balanced budget, which is a similar question to what was asked of Paul Ryan the day before, I would just think that would be strategically unwise and just kind of messy, frankly, right?

CASTELLANOS: Well, I'm not so sure I heard the same conflicts you did.

I heard Mitt Romney say pretty clearly that the president's already cut Medicare for current seniors. I have heard Mitt Romney say he's not going to do that. I have heard Mitt Romney say, in fact, he's going to repeal Obamacare and restore those $716 billion in cuts.

I have heard Mitt Romney say Paul Ryan supports that, that the Ryan budget is not what is on the table. It's the Romney budget. So I think that's pretty clear. I'm not so sure what's entirely confusing about that.

O'BRIEN: All right.

Well, let's turn to Hilary Rosen. When everybody's talking about voter priorities, what they're talking about, Hilary, is jobs, job, jobs. I have to imagine for the Obama campaign to talk about Medicare, maybe that's better than talking about jobs.

But are voters going to be fine with that, you know, sort of taking a departure down this road?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, yes, you know, I don't think that there's any attempt to kind of distract from jobs.

I think what happened is that Mitt Romney, when he chose Paul Ryan, knew that there was a vulnerability around the Ryan budget, that there were a number of programs that Paul Ryan had proposed cutting, including Medicare, turning that to a voucher system, including student loans, including, you know, child care, a whole series of things.

What they tried to do strategically was start talking about it so that they could spin the Medicare issue their way, because they're worried about senior voters. And I think that despite what Alex just said, you know, on Sunday we heard Romney say we're not going to deal with the Ryan budget, the Ryan plan. You know, I don't care about his plan. This is going to be the Romney plan.

And yesterday we heard Governor Romney say, well, you know, my plan and the Ryan plan are pretty similar. And then today he said something yet a third time. So, I think that it would have been helpful for them if they actually, you know, scripted themselves earlier about this problem that they knew existed, and stopped trying to sort of spin it around to get the voters to think that what they're not trying to do is actually upend the Medicare system.

O'BRIEN: Alex, let me ask you a question. Today, Congressman Ryan who was talking to reporters said that he actually opposed the Medicare cuts or savings -- obviously, there's been debate about that terminology -- even though they ended up in his own House Republican budget twice.

I'm going to play a little clip of what he said and then we will talk about it on the other side.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, those are in the baseline. He put those cuts in. Second of all, we voted to repeal Obamacare repeatedly, including those cuts.

I voted that way before the budget. I voted that way after the budget. So when you repeal all of Obamacare, what you end up doing is that repeals that as well.

In our budget, we have restored a lot of that. It gets a little wonky but it was already in the baseline. And I just don't think the president's going to be able to get out of the fact that he took $716 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare.


O'BRIEN: So, he's right, it does get a little wonky. But that's a really complicated thing that he's saying there. Didn't his House budget include those very cuts or savings, however you want to call it? They are in his House budget. And House Republicans voted on that budget in March of 2011 and March of 2012, those very same numbers, correct?

CASTELLANOS: I think his explanation is complicated.

I think his position is complicated. He has been a -- he had has two different positions on those. Certainly, in the Ryan budget, they did have those cuts that the president frankly included in his budget and implemented.

But again, in Congress, we know how that works. When you put something on the table, you don't give everything away. You keep something for negotiating room. The Republicans had I think a pretty a good opening hand there.

But Ryan is correctly noting that when he voted to repeal Obamacare that would have repealed in its entirety and restored those cuts. So maybe he evolved on that position. But we know where he is now. He is supporting the Romney policy. That's what's on the ballot.


O'BRIEN: Go ahead, Hilary.

ROSEN: I think the voters over the next couple of months are going to be subjected to, you know, millions and millions of dollars of ads from both sides saying that the other side is trying to hurt Medicare, right?

So what it's really going to come down to for voters I think is answering this question about who you trust on this issue. And I think that the thing that the Ryan budget and the Romney plan have in common is that both of those plans take money away from the middle class, whether it's student loans, whether it's health care, whether it's child care, whether it's education, whether -- and whether it's middle-class earned income tax credits, all to pay -- and this is key to the Ryan plan and the Romney plan -- all to pay for additional tax cuts for the wealthy.


ROSEN: ... into this Medicare narrative, because will say I don't know who's telling the truth. I just kind of have to go with my gut about who's been there for me before.


O'BRIEN: Let me ask you both a final question. Hilary, it sounds like you're saying what has been a Medicare debate -- and wonky is a really good term for going through these numbers with a fine-tooth comb -- is going to now turn into a conversation about a bigger budget, a balanced budget, where cuts coming from the budget and also you think it's then going to turn into conversation about taxes?

CASTELLANOS: If you're asking Hilary...


O'BRIEN: Go ahead, Alex.


CASTELLANOS: Yes, I agree with Hilary, Soledad, that I think you're right, it's going to turn into a debate about who do you trust, but also who's done what to whom so far and where are we going. I think the challenge for both Republicans and Democrats is to explain what this means to not only the private sector, but the public sector. The president's attack here is you're going to get less from government. I think that is what Hilary just said. I think what Republicans are challenged to do now is say, no, no, if you vote for those guys, Obama and Biden, you're going to get less from the private sector. We're going to have a smaller economy with fewer jobs.

And that's going to produce less revenue. With less revenue, we can't save Social Security and Medicare.


CASTELLANOS: So two different approaches.

O'BRIEN: Which means we will be talking about this until the very end is what you're telling me.

Alex Castellanos and Hilary Rosen, nice to see both you. We are out of time.

ROSEN: Right.

O'BRIEN: Hilary, we will continue obviously to have this conversation I'm guessing almost every single night.

Tell us what you think. We're on Facebook or you can follow us on Twitter @AC360.

And "Raw Politics" tonight: Mitt Romney talks taxes, his taxes. And new signs that Wisconsin, which went for President Obama by double digits last time around, could be in play this time around. Is Paul Ryan the reason? John King is going to join us to crunch the numbers, David Gergen too. That's next.


O'BRIEN: "Raw Politics" now: new evidence that a reliable blue state may now be in play, Wisconsin. There's new CNN polling that shows it's close and new signs on the grounds that the Obama campaign has started taking the possibility of losing Paul Ryan's home state a lot more seriously.

First, though, the news Mitt Romney made today about his taxes.


ROMNEY: I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years, I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 percent or something like that. So I have paid taxes every single year.

Harry Reid's charge is totally false. I'm sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him. I don't believe it for a minute, by the way. But, every year, I have paid at least 13 percent. And if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20 percent.


O'BRIEN: As you know, Mr. Romney said he is not going to release any more than two years of tax returns, as Democrats and a number of prominent Republicans have called on him to do.

Now to the tightening race in Wisconsin.

John King's been crunching the numbers for us. He also spent time on the ground there recently.

John, let's start with what the momentum could be in Wisconsin. Over just the last couple of years, there's been an election of a conservative governor who survived as we all know that recall election. There's been the selection of a senator from the Tea Party ranks. All of that I would guess would mean good news for the GOP, good news for Mitt Romney.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good news in the sense of an energized Republican base from last few years, Soledad.

And they think Paul Ryan pick will add to it. So what does that mean? Here's what we did today. Wisconsin was lean Obama. Its 10 electoral votes, they were lean Obama. We switched it to a tossup state which gives you a closer race for the Electoral College.

We will come back to that in a minute, but let's go to that dynamic you're talking about. This is the 2008 map. If you look at Wisconsin, you think, come on, no way, right, President Obama wins it by about 13 points. Look at all that blue in the middle of the state. How could even the Paul Ryan pick put it in play now?

To the points you made, the Ryan pick gives you a point or maybe more, the Obama campaign concedes. There's a lot of Republican energy on the ground. That's 2008. But if we go to 2010, this is the Senate race. Ron Johnson beats an incumbent liberal Democrat, Russ Feingold. Look at all the red filling in here.

Let's look at the governor's race. Scott Walker not only wins 52-47, in 2010, but just survived that recall election a few months ago. That is why, Soledad, if you take our poll, our reporting on the ground, you talk to both campaigns, and you go to that state and you sense the Republican energy, that's why we saw it's a tossup.

O'BRIEN: If it's a tossup and it wasn't four years ago, that means the Obama campaign's going to have to spend some money. I have to imagine the GOP looks at that as a very good thing.

KING: Absolutely.

The Obama campaign has spent no money on television as yet in the state, but we saw the organizing on the ground. I'm told there will be more field people sent in. They're making phone calls to voters. If they have to spend money, Wisconsin is not the most expensive state in the country. But you probably have to buy in Minneapolis over in Minnesota to get people in this part of the state. You buy down here in Milwaukee and Madison. You buy up in the Green Bay market.

Again, it's not one of the most expensive states, but if you're doing all of that, any money going into here, I want to switch to the presidential map, any money going into here is money, in the end, if it's very close, you might think, boy, I wish we had that for Tampa or Orlando, boy, I wish we had that for Cleveland or Columbus.

Any time and money and even candidate time that goes into Wisconsin now has got to come out of somewhere.

O'BRIEN: All those things are kind of a zero sum game. Right? You have a limited amount. And you have got to figure out how to spread it around.

Let's bring in David Gergen. He's a senior political analyst for us.

David, nice to see you. We say over and over again Wisconsin has not voted Republican since 1984. If you look at other statistics, the unemployment rate is well below the national average at 7 percent. Why exactly is Wisconsin in play and how much is Ryan a part of that?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, CNN moved Wisconsin into the tossup category from lean Obama after Ryan was picked. Clearly Paul Ryan on the ticket has made a difference, Soledad.

But I think what we're seeing here with Paul Ryan is two things. One his ideological appeal. But also he's a Midwesterner. And as John will tell you, there are several states in the Midwest now. Michigan, CNN still calls as lean Obama. Others have it as a tossup. Ohio of course is in the tossup category. That's pivotal. Iowa.

So there are a number of states there where Paul Ryan can identify more as a Midwesterner, as well as a conservative. But I think the polls don't go to and don't measure something that's, right now, very intangible, and that is the excitement level on both sides and what that does to a convention.

And what I would tell you is that while Romney is not getting a big national bounce out of Ryan -- it's about half the size of a normal national balance for a vice presidential candidate -- it has energized his party on the eve of a convention. That can make a big difference in the convention in Tampa, which is not very far away, just about 10 days away.

O'BRIEN: John, if you look at the map that shows three tossups in the Midwest now, including Wisconsin, all of it kind of in Congressman Ryan's stomping ground area, what does that mean for strategy?

KING: A couple ways to look at it.

David and Soledad, you make an excellent point. I want to pull out to the national map. This is the 2008 race for president. This is not rocket science here. Let's turn this on. Look at this. Look at this. President Obama, a huge part of his coalition was right here in the Industrial Midwest. That is the race for president. But again a lot has changed. A midterm election 2010 Democrats in Washington will say is not the same as a presidential election. But look at what happened in this region in 2010. These are the Senate races. These are the governor's races. Only Illinois did the Democrats hold the governorship.

You see all that red. That's why Mitt Romney is more confident. Then you go to the electoral map and you say, how does that play out? Here's where we are today. If -- and this is a hypothetical. But if Governor Romney can get Ohio, get Wisconsin and get Iowa, look at that, that puts him in a tie slightly ahead of the president. Everyone believes he has to win Florida.

If he can win Florida as well, that gets him on the doorstep of being elected the next president of the United States. David Gergen mentions Michigan. They will try really hard there. They might try in Pennsylvania.

But if you look at the area, Soledad, I just came to, when I was in Iowa this week, Terry Branstad, the Republican governor said Obama's from Illinois, but now we have got him surrounded.

O'BRIEN: So, David, we see professor Mitt Romney with the white board out, kind of erasing things on it. Former adviser -- George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove argued today in "The Wall Street Journal" that Republicans are now in the advantage talking about Medicare and their quote was this time it's different.

Is it true? Because if it's not different, you're going to scare a lot of old people and then you're going to lose.

GERGEN: That's what gives suspense to this campaign, Soledad.

By any conventional measure, a candidate he goes in and wants to reform Medicare in a way that could take it away from them, or take the full benefits away from a younger crowd is going to pay a price. There are some polls coming out of Florida now suggesting Obama has been helped by the Ryan selection.

But what I also found interesting in the CNN poll in Wisconsin is that among 65 and older, Romney has a substantial lead over President Obama. But with the crowd from 50 to 64, it's Obama who has a substantial lead. There's a 14-point swing from the 65-year-old types.

And it's the 50-year-old to 64-year-old folks who could be affected by Medicare reform. People who already have it are not going to be affected. But if you're 50, you have got to be really asking the question, what does it do for me? We will wait to see.

O'BRIEN: So, that's got to be very problematic as they crunch all those numbers.

David Gergen, John King, as always, thanks. Appreciate it.

(NEWS BREAK) O'BRIEN: More serious news to tell you about.

A week of protests at a mine in South Africa turned into a bloodbath today. Police opened fire on striking workers who were reportedly armed with guns and machetes and sticks. We will tell you what eyewitnesses saw just ahead.


O'BRIEN: In South Africa, a deadly confrontation at the world's third largest platinum mine.

We need to warn you that this video is extremely graphic. You're going to see police opening fire on striking workers. It's believed the miners who are demanding better pay were armed with guns, machetes and sticks. They charged police. And then there was this.

It's not clear just how many people died in that firestorm. One reported counted 18 bodies. Police though haven't released a death toll yet.

CNN's Nkepile Mabuse joins us this evening with more.

Nkepile, let me ask you about the start of the violence. It was -- began really about a dispute over wages, but how did it devolve into that?


This country has witnessed its fair share of violence, but even here people are shocked, at least 18 people dead. And that's according to media reports. The police have yet to release official numbers. We're hoping that the national commissioner of police will be releasing those figures in a couple of hours' time.

The mine, Lonmin Platinum Mine, was very quick to distance itself from this incident, saying that this was a public order issue and not a labor relations matter. But that's how it began. Last week, Friday, these miners went on strike, demanding more pay.

And we've seen, between last week, Friday, and today, 10 people dead, killed in the most gruesome manner. Before this at least 18 we're told -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: So the South African Police, Nkepile, released a statement that said, in part, this. "The South African Police Service was viciously attacked by the group using a variety of weapons including firearms. The police, in order to protect their own lives and in self-defense, were forced to engage the group with force."

After reading that statement, I want to play the video for you one more time. How believable is that? I know that there have been different reports about who started shooting first. What have you learned about that?

MABUSE: Well, Soledad, that's the police's side of the story. We'll get more details from the National Police Commissioner, and will be then -- will be able to question her because as far as I know, people who I have spoken to say the scene was so chaotic. It was impossible for them to determine who started firing who.

The police insisting that these miners were armed. I was here on Wednesday. They are armed. Armed with very dangerous weapons. Machetes, traditional weapons. And the police believe guns as well. Police actually saying that they retrieved some of these guns from the men that were killed in those very violent pictures that you're showing the viewers today.

So that's their side of the story. We'll have a chance to question the National Police Commissioner about that version of events when she holds her press conference -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Nkepile, what happens next? Is the dispute nowhere close to being resolved?

MABUSE: You know, Soledad, the mine had actually issued its final ultimatum to these striking miners who, as I said, have been striking since last week Friday. The mine missing six days of work with these workers saying they're not going back until their demands are met.

They had said, go back to work on Friday or you will be fired. Now this turn of events, we don't know what the unions are going to be doing, we don't know what the government is going to be doing, but there's going to have to be some serious intervention for the killing to stop -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right. Nkepile, thank you for that report. Appreciate it.

Back here at home, there is no end in sight to the battle against at least 70 wildfires that are burning in 13 western states. We've got the very latest on the damage. That's just ahead.


O'BRIEN: A Michigan man is dead, shot dead, in a hail of bullets by police. And there's growing anger in the community over the incident which was captured on amateur video. We're going to play it for the first time here on 360. That's coming up.


O'BRIEN: Tonight, some sobering context from National Fire officials. Wildfires have already destroyed more land than last year at this time. Right now 70 fires are raging across 13 western states. The battle to contain them is being fought around the clock and in grueling conditions.

Imagine looking out your window at that.

More than 900 file fighters have been batting this wildfire in Cle Elem, which is in Washington. Earlier today the blaze was 25 percent contained. Scourging heat, dry weather and high winds have made a daunting job that much worse for firefighters.

Here's Dan Simon with the very latest.


ELAINE WISE, FIRE VICTIM: It's just the worst nightmare I can possibly imagine.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elaine Wise lived by herself on her 14 acres of property in Ellensburg, Washington. A retired caregiver to the elderly and foster children, she had a small farm to help pay the bills. Along with losing her home, she also lost most of her animals. Dozens of pigs and dogs. Their burned carcasses could be seen everywhere.

(On camera): What's the hardest thing about coming back?

WISE: The animals. I mean, the home, you know, that's gone and I can get another home but they had to have suffered.

SIMON (voice-over): Some of the pigs survived. Elaine's family is trying to take care of them. As well as combing through the rubble to see what can be found.

WISE: What I feel like saying is the end of my life. I mean, I'm alive but -- that's what it feels like.

SIMON: The fire, about 90 miles east of Seattle, has so far destroyed at least 60 homes and forced hundreds to evacuate. Fire officials blame dry terrain and wind for the quick moving fire. Many victims broke down in tears as they relieved the terror of the flames approaching their homes.

JACK CUSHING, FIRE VICTIM: I've been here for 25 years. We moved over from Bellevue. And it hurts.

SIMON: Jack and Margot Cushing left with virtually nothing.

MARGOT CUSHING, FIRE VICTIM: We took a few clothes and photographs and that was about it.

SIMON: Authorities say the fire is completely man-made. That it broke out from a bridge construction project.

REX REED, INCIDENT COMMANDER: We do not know the specific cause yet. We just know it came from the construction site. And will be -- investigators are very actively involved in that investigation as we speak.

SIMON: The flames advanced so quickly that people like Elaine Wise had no warning.

WISE: They said, I'm sorry, ma'am, but you can't stay.

SIMON (on camera): So you weren't able to gather up anything?

WISE: No, nothing. Just the clothes on my back. Absolutely nothing.

SIMON (voice-over): She'd come back from an afternoon shopping trip on Monday when fire crews refused to let her go inside.

WISE: They had nothing to start a home or -- you know, just absolutely nothing now.

SIMON (on camera): No insurance or anything like that?

WISE: No. No.


O'BRIEN: Oh, my goodness, that's such a heartbreaking story.

Dan Simon is in Cle Elem, Washington for us.

So, how much progress are the firefighters making, Dan?

SIMON: Well, they feel like they're turning a corner and that is a huge relief for the people who live here. They're not looking at somewhere around 33 percent containment for this blaze. That's up a little bit from yesterday when it was at 25 percent. They think it will go up in the morning. Today they got some help from the elements. There wasn't a whole lot of wind today so that helped assist in putting down the blaze.

They also deployed one of those jumbo DC-10s with fire retardant. And so that made a difference. So they feel like they're getting the upper hand on this blaze but by no means are we through with this thing. They think that some areas could see some flare-ups so they're watching it very closely and they've got 900 firefighters on the ground and so they're attacking this very aggressively -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: It's good to hear that they're really aggressive on it.

Dan Simon for us tonight. Thank you, Dan, appreciate that.

Time to get checked back in with Randi Kaye. She's got another "360 Bulletin."

Hey, Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Soledad, America's West Nile outbreak is growing. Oklahoma officials blaming the mosquito borne virus for two more death there, bringing the statewide total now to three. The death toll is 16 in neighboring Texas and 28 nationwide. Cases of West Nile have now been reported in 32 states.

Two Louisiana sheriff's deputies were shot to death this morning in two related shooting incidents. A local sheriff said that a shooting at a steel plant led investigators to a trailer park where they were ambushed. Two other officers were wounded in the violence.

And a frightening scene today in New York City right outside CNN's studios. A carriage horse collided with a car. The horse got spooked apparently and broke away from its carriage which flipped over injuring the two passengers. The "New York Times" reports the horse ran about four blocks before being caught.

More 360 next.


O'BRIEN: Anger and impatience growing tonight in Saginaw, Michigan, over the fatal shooting of a man by police officers. The shooting was caught on amateur video and we're going to play it for you. And I have to warn you, it's very graphic.

But we're going to show this video because it reveals how police handled what has become a controversial case and a major issue in Saginaw. Some residents are disturbed by how the man was killed. At least 30 shots were fired at him. They're also demanding to know why the investigation is taking so long.

The incident happened back on July 1st. And again, I have to warn you, the video that you're about to see is very graphic.

Here's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This amateur video, purchased by CNN and not made public until now, captured the confrontation between six Saginaw police officers and Milton Hall, a 49-year-old man who, his family says, suffered from serious mental health issues.

Hall, seen in the middle of your screen, police say, had just had a run-in with a convenience store clerk. He was in a standoff with police and holding some sort of knife. A female officer is heard shouting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put the knife down.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put the knife down.

CARROLL: If you listen carefully, Hall is then heard continuing to yell at police.

HALL: My name is Milton Hall. I just called 911. My name is Milton Hall. And I am pissed off.

CARROLL: Hall seems agitated but not intimidated by a police dog.

HALL: Let him go. Let him go. Let the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dog go.

CARROLL: Heard on the tape, a witness describes what he sees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Karate stand, about to go ham on him. CARROLL: Then as Hall appears to take a few steps, everything comes to a head. Local media report 46 shots were fired. CNN counted the sounds of at least 30 shots on the videotape. Anthony Barber witnessed the shooting.

ANTHONY BARBER, EYEWITNESS: All of a sudden. And he drops. You know. Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. And he drops. I was about where that blue van is. I was parked in my van.

CARROLL: Tabitha Perry saw it, too.

TABITHA PERRY, EYEWITNESS: I heard that one of the officers say something to the fact where, put the knife down or I let the dog go.

CARROLL (on camera): And do you believe the officers were justified in what they did?

PERRY: No, I don't. No, I don't. Because what they did, there was a better way to do it. I think their judgment was off.

CARROLL (voice-over): Perry is not alone. Hall's mother says Saginaw Police overreacted.

JEWEL HALL, MOTHER OF MILTON HALL: Emotionally, I have a lot of pain. And I'm stunned. That six human beings were standing in front of one human being and fired 46 shots. I just don't understand that.

CARROLL: On the day of the shooting, July 1st, the Saginaw Police chief defended his officers' actions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is someone that, from our understanding, has a long history. Not only with police from our department but with the county. Known to be an assaultive person.

CARROLL: Over the last month, members of the community have voiced outrage about the Hall shooting. Not satisfied with the police investigation into the officers' response.

We showed the video of the shooting to City Councilman Norman Braddock.

NORMAN BRADDOCK, SAGINAW, MICHIGAN, CITY COUNCIL: I can see why people are traumatized looking at something like that. And we need answers.

CARROLL: Braddock has been critical of what he calls the slow pace of the shooting investigation.

(On camera): Could it be that investigators are just trying to make sure they're doing a thorough job and that's why the investigation is --

BRADDOCK: I'm sure that has something to do with it, but at the same time, it should be a top priority.

CARROLL: Where you are in terms of the investigation? (Voice-over): The Michigan State Police lead investigator would not discuss the case. Instead, referring us to the Saginaw County prosecutor, who told us, "I can't tell you when the case is going to be completed. The matter is being thoroughly investigated by an independent police agency, the Michigan State Police, along with the Michigan Attorney General's Office."

Hall's mother already feels she knows the answer to the question of whether police used too much force.

J. HALL: It appeared to be a firing squad dressed in police uniforms. And there was another way. They did not have to kill him.


O'BRIEN: Jason Carroll joins us from Saginaw tonight.

Jason, in the piece you mentioned the community's outrage but this is I think the first time that many people are even seeing the videotape. So where's the outrage coming from?

CARROLL: Well, it's twofold. First of all, Soledad, when that incident took place out here, there were so many people surrounding Hall and police. It's a small community. So word spread very quickly that many shots were fired. And this man seemed to be unarmed with nothing but a knife. So there was outrage from that point of view.

The other point of view just simply has to do with the length of time it's taking to complete the investigation. Many people in the community feeling it's simply just taking too long.

O'BRIEN: Jason Carroll, thanks for that report. Absolutely devastating.

All right, let's turn to Lou Palumbo. He's the direct of the Elite Group, a security firm. He's a former police officer as well.

And we're going to play this videotape again because I think it's disturbing. I just want to show people just how police responded to what was happening. Let's play it.

Why would police have to shoot a suspect 46 times? He's clearly got a knife in his hands. They're obviously communicating with him and you can see the distance is not, you know, two feet. It's a reasonable distance. Why shoot him 46 times?

LOU PALUMBO, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: Well, that's a good question. I mean, as you know, Soledad, this is a perceptive nightmare for a law enforcement agency. And tragically enough, it could clearly be a lapse in training. That is a very good question. Why it would require 46 shots from a law -- group of law enforcement agents to neutralize one individual armed with a knife.

This wasn't a scenario where he was discharging a weapon in their direction. O'BRIEN: What's the training? I mean if someone is -- you know, let's say, 10 feet, I'm guessing at the distance there, or something like that, and they're waving a knife, is the training to shoot him in the leg or shoot him -- you know, so that they collapse and they fall and they can't come up and stab you with the knife?

PALUMBO: Well actually, what the training is specifically is to shoot you in your thoracic cavity to neutralize you immediately. Number one.

O'BRIEN: Killing you?

PALUMBO: Well, I use the term cease hostility. You know whatever the result --

O'BRIEN: Where's your thoracic cavity?

PALUMBO: That's your up -- like your -- up around your chest.

O'BRIEN: Right, probably going to kill you.

PALUMBO: Yes. More than likely result in you dying. But, you know, there's a couple of separate issues here. One is if the shooting is justifiable. And they may find out the shooting is justifiable. The second issue is the amount of rounds that were fired at him. You know, one of the things the public has to understand is that an individual wielding a knife at you at about 20 feet can be on top of you in a split second.

The public doesn't know this because they don't do this for a living. The other issue is the number of rounds that were fired. Every time you discharge your weapon as a law enforcement agent, you have projectiles floating through the air that you have to account for and potentially innocent people being struck by them.

So there's probably a little bit of a training issue here on top of the fact that they've got to investigate and speak to every single individual that was a witness to this, including every police officer to determine what exactly transpired.

O'BRIEN: Clearly the investigation is under way. Lou Palumbo, nice to see you as always. Thank you. Appreciate it.

PALUMBO: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We're going to be back next with the "RiducuList." Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: "RiducuList" crime week continues. Here's Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Time now for the "RiducuList," and tonight we're adding the Barbecue Chip Bandits. They allegedly struck in Canada last month. The local news was all over and I do mean all over the case at the time but it's only now going viral in the U.S. And I should warn you the depth of reporting on this story is rivaled only by Woodward and Bernstein. So we should probably just start at the beginning.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In this quiet (INAUDIBLE) neighborhood, people like their chips.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All kinds. We like those lime, the lime flavored ones. Potato chips. Taco chips. Cheesies.


COOPER: Yes, the cheesies. It only gets better from there because it wasn't just the local news that got involved.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are very specific and hard to obtain barbecue chips.


COOPER: That's right, police officers responded to an emergency call from a resident, who to be fair likely thought something sinister was afoot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently she lives alone and was awoken by her growling Chihuahua.


COOPER: Look, I have said it before, nothing gets by a Chihuahua. By the way, it turns out it wasn't a dangerous intruder, but, wait for it, two drunk college girls.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The women were walking home from a night of drinking when something caught their eye. An open garage just like this one. And what did they see inside? Zeller's brand barbecue potato chips.


COOPER: Hmm, wait, what's the big deal about Zeller's brand chips? Actually, you know what, forget it. Because surely the reporter has better things to do than to explain that.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You can find them at Zeller's but only for a limited time. In October Zeller's is closing its stores for good, meaning its in-house potato chip brand truly could become harder to find, perhaps making it somewhat of a hot commodity.


COOPER: I don't know. It sounds like a lot of speculation. Can we check in with the officer?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't tried these for myself, but my understanding is that particular brand the barbecue is quite tasty.


COOPER: Quite tasty. OK. Then I stand corrected. Wait, what is that? What is that? I'm told we're getting more information on what the bandits did inside the garage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears that the effervescent chip package in the open garage just appeared too yummy to pass up for two highly intoxicated young ladies.


COOPER: Look, you had me at effervescent. I'm not fully committed to this story. I just wish the reporter could give us a better understanding, a better look really at what exactly happened.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So they took the chips and started walking, but they didn't get far. The barbecue bandits were busted by the homeowner.


COOPER: I love the eating demonstration. But look, I'll be honest, this is getting a little too tense for me. I'm afraid to even ask how it all turns out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently the chips have been accessed and there have been some illicit chip tastings.


COOPER: Damn you, chip bandits. What in the name of Zeller's store brand are we going to do with you? I mean should we really cut you some slack?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are first-time chip offenders.


COOPER: Glad he has a sense of humor about it. Because frankly my nerves are fried. So consider yourselves on notice, barbecue chip bandits. I'll defer to the Canadian wheels of justice but for now the trail of crumbs leads right to the "RidicuList."


O'BRIEN: That does it for this edition of 360. Thank you for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.